April 9, 2020 – Madison, WI – Yesterday afternoon we began receiving phone calls, texts and emails alerting us that county health departments around the state were telling churches they cannot do drive-in services at any time during the time of Governor Evers’ Emergency Order No. 12 (Stay-at-home order), including at Easter.
As we investigated this situation, we realized that some directive was given to the county health departments from someone at Department of Health Services, which is, of course, currently operating with the authority of the Governor.
The DHS directive directly contradicts what the state legislature’s nonpartisan Legislative Council said about such services under EO #12 and also what several attorneys have told us was permissible under this EO.
Fortunately, once we shared this information with our friends at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, and with our corporate attorney, Mike Dean (a constitutional expert in his own right), they quickly stepped in earlier today and sent the Governor a letter asking him to immediately (by 2 p.m.) “clarify, correct and restrain local government officials” from telling churches they can’t do drive-in services this weekend and even threatening to fine and /or give them jail time if they proceeded.
We have also sent the Governor a letter asking for him to clear up this mess immediately. Our press release with links to our letter and to WILL’s letter to the governor is available HERE. We urge you to read this.
As of 1:50 p.m., Governor Evers issued a press release in which he said drive-in church services that respect social distancing are permitted. I am very, very confident if WILL and WFC had not spearheaded an effort to hold the Governor accountable, this “clarification” would not have happened.
In addition, we believe WILL will soon make available some guidelines for churches to help them understand what they can and cannot do and still be in compliance with the EO #12. We will let everyone know about those and where to find them as soon as that happens.
Getting our letter to the Governor has been challenging. I sent it via the only email address we have and also tried to hand deliver it at the capitol, to no avail. We are now sending it overnight priority and made it available to him by Twitter.
And please pray. Our prayers for our elected officials are critical right now, as are our prayers that God will protect us and our freedoms in the midst of all this crisis and chaos.